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The Beauty of the End
Debbie Howells

from FictionZeal.com re: Life and Other Near Death Experiences by Camille Pagán

Life and Other Near-Death Experiences - Camille Pagán

Libby Miller just received the most devastating news from her doctor. It’s cancer and it’s aggressive. While he’s talking of chemo and radiation, her mind is elsewhere. She doesn’t want treatment. She storms out of his office and rushes home where she can pour her heart out to Tom, her husband of eight years. She comes up to him crying. He thinks someone has told her his news and so he blurts it out – “I think I might be … gay.” They argue. She finally says, “I. Am. Dying!” to which he replies, “Libby, please don’t be so dramatic …” She kicks him out.

Now, no one knows her burden except her and her doctor. She begins to sell everything and decides to really live; she makes extensive travel plans. She calls her twin brother, Paul. After her travels, she’ll stop by and see him and their dad.

This pulled me in from the beginning. Of course, cancer is not humorous, but the character of Libby is strong and had always been used to looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. So her humor still shines through. I liked the character of Libby. I even understood her not wanting chemo nor radiation and I understood her desire to get away, even if she had to handle her bad news all by herself. I liked that it was a ‘clean’ read. Libby would turn words around so they were not technically swearing like what she thought of Tom, “Was he nucking futs?” Libby is an inspiration to all of us who like to use humor to diffuse situations. Rating: 4 out of 5.